This is a bit of a confounding poem to read. It is a double abecedarian, which means:
It is composed of twenty-six lines. If you look at the first letter of every line, you will see that they go from A to Z in descending order. If you look at the last letter of every line, you will see that they go from Z to A, zipping the whole thing back up.
Rhyme is difficult in these things, meter can be almost impossible. I don’t usually try. But this time, I metered it loosely and rhymed it occasionally. I also just realized that the formatting of this website breaks the lines up differently than I had originally written them, so it’s not as easy to see the ABC order. Lame. But I’m sure you’ll figure it out.
Good luck 😉
Away from the heat, away from the dust, listening to Moroccan music and jazz
Biryani and lassis and rich chicken curry
Colorful books on tantric sex
Descend into heaven, high in the mountains, the Himalayan peaks all dressed in snow
Emerald-colored saris, steep mountain passes, Israelis with dreadlocks who call home Tel Aviv
Fertile valleys, staring eyes, Indian dishes called Gobi Alu
Ganga grows wild, in gardens, on hillsides, choking white clouds, fragrant, hot
Himachal Pradesh is eagles and valleys, and Chinese-looking Indians with scarves on their heads
Irascible drivers, and tooting horns, Nepali music, and chai served surrrr…
Jains sip it this way, so piping hot, and so do the Hindus, and boys named Fariq
Kullu Valley is the Switzerland of India, lush green hills with mountains on top
Liberation, moksha, rapturous nirvana- keep doing yoga, you might evolve too!
Mercury rises, mercury falls, I sleep with four blankets and dream of the sun
No rhyme to this poem, or reason either, for lunch I eat momos, and toast with plum jam
Ostentatious peacocks, slick black puppies, the one with the mohawk has a kink in his tail
Past lives determine your fate and your caste- if you sinned before, now you live in a shack
Queens of England once ruled this land, its culture and soul held in thrall by the Raj
Ranas and Ranis, Brahmins and lowlifes, a Muslim man dies to make love to a houri
Secular living is met with raised eyebrows- you are Muslim or Buddhist, your god Vishnu or Jah
Tableaus of terraces, glinting in sunlight, yellow beaked swallows who call out in song
Under the peaks of the dizzying mountains, a waterfall spills from a green-ridged bluff
Vishnu and Shiva crown temples and hills, and Buddha sits cross-legged, his tranquil mind free
Wise is the Tibetan who dies every day, a diligent student of the Book of the Dead
X-rated books, x-rated plants, an x-rated coupling in a flapping bivouac
Yaks run free, their milk makes cheese, creamy and melting atop your kebab
Zealous travelers rent jeeps to Ladakh, I stare at the peaks and say, Goodnight India!!!